More Ypsi Mayoral Fun (and why it might not matter)

I stumbled across a couple of potentially useful links about the upcoming race for mayor in Ypsilanti– that is, if you are a reader even remotely interested in such a thing. Here they are:

I will say this (and this gets back to some of what I posted about before, some of what is in the comments there, etc.): in the end, I’m just not convinced it will make a whole lot of difference who gets elected. Both Pierce and Schreiber bring different strengths and weaknesses to the party, but both of them are going to have a hard go of it because of the large issues/problems of Ypsilanti.

According to a question that was apparently asked at the debate, 25% of Ypsi residents live below the poverty level. That’s a lot, and that’s a group of folks who are basically using a lot of public and tax-supported services without paying a lot of taxes themselves. A lot of the questions/concerns right now are focused on the crappy financial state of the city, an issue where there are no easy solutions. The city itself is built-out, meaning there isn’t a lot of opportunity for more development– short of trying to take on brown field projects, which are never any fun. The city’s biggest land-owner, EMU, doesn’t pay taxes at all. The auto industry (and someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I think they are the biggest tax payer in Ypsi) is leaking like a sieve and there’s little reason to suggest that’s getting better in the long or mid term. There’s little the school district can do to convince the likes of me that the middle schools and high schools are a good option for my child. Add to all of that the whole area (really, the whole state) is in a slump and pretty soon it seems to me that the choice between two or three different Democrats who are in many (if not most) ways on the same page regarding the key issues is ultimately irrelevant.

Maybe that’s a bad attitude, but there you have it.

Oh, and I don’t want people raising chickens in my neighborhood. That’s stupid. So in that sense, at least according to ypsi~dixit, it sounds like Schreiber and I are on the same page.

Two Post Scripts:

  • At my wife’s request, I made some slight editing to my post. She had a point.
  • Another bad attitude remark: I haven’t seen any poll numbers, but I’ll bet you anything that Steve Pierce is way out in front and is going to win. For better or worse.

16 thoughts on “More Ypsi Mayoral Fun (and why it might not matter)”

  1. Disclaimer (from Annette): The opinions expressed on this blog do not neccesarily represent those of the entire Wannamaker/Krause household–so don’t start eggin’ my house!–AW

  2. I’m curious where Annette diverges from your opinions.

    Also, why have you ruled out the middle and high schools? I have friends with kids in the middle school and they’ve been very happy. I’ve heard great things about the principal and the teachers. We attended West’s open house and Evan can’t wait to go. Have you checked them out at all?

  3. I don’t know if we have ruled anything out yet, but I think when it comes to schooling, that really is one of those “personal decision” things. There are good reasons to stay in the Ypsi school system and I know there are folks who have come to this district on purpose. There are good reasons to leave the Ypsi school system and I know folks who have moved because of it. I’ll leave it at that.

    As for middle school/junior high in general: my sense is that there are ultimately no good choices anywhere because the kids at age are all big ol’ pieces of work. I think being a junior teacher would be like being sent to one of the deeper levels of hell.

  4. So…you haven’t checked them out, then?

    I know people have their personal reasons for choosing the schools. For instance, my neighbor drives her kids to Milan because she tells me there are too many black kids in Ypsi. Yes, she really did. But you have just been writing about holding the values of a “real Democrat” and your suspicions of a conservative-looking candidate. Aren’t we suspicious of Republicans for their self-serving values? Is the term “personal decision” a euphemism for allowing yourself an exemption from Democratic values?

    Just curious. I’ve been a little extra-intrigued by the workings of society lately.

  5. Well, I look at it like this: I was born in Wisconsin, grew up mostly in Iowa, and I’ve lived in a total of six different states. Annette was an Air Force brat, so she moved God only knows how many times and grew up in/on three different continents. So what I’m getting at is that we’ve moved from place to place to place our whole lives. Since Annette and I have been together, we’ve moved in and out of communities four times– five if you count our move from an apartment in Ypsi township to Ypsi the city. It seems pretty normal to the both of us.

    Now, I don’t think it makes sense to drive one’s children to Milan from Ypsi for school, but I also don’t think that moving from one town/community to another for a bunch of different reasons (jobs, schools, housing choices, lifestyle changes, whatever) has anything to do with exempting one’s self from “Democratic values.” I just don’t get that. If we move, it means we move for a whole bunch of different reasons. That’s it. People move all the time.

  6. I like the schools here, but in general, I agree with Steve. To equate him with your racist friend just because he doesn’t have a lot of faith in the schools is unfair.

  7. In general, I agree with Steve, too. People move for lots of reasons. I was asking about what was said in the original post, and I didn’t think it was in the context of talking about moving. People can opt out of the public schools and live here, too.

    Forgive me if I implied that there was racism involved. The only way I intended to equate Steve with my neighbor is in the use of a personal reason by giving an example that someone gave me because it is such a touchy subject that a lot of people don’t talk about it. Actually, this neighbor’s younger child went to Perry but from here on out he’ll go to Milan because his older brother does and their school calendars will match. Another example of a personal reason.

    I really am interested in why people do what they do. I am also, perhaps, putting general societal/neighborhood frustration on this blog because I felt like the door was opened with what Steve wrote on precisely some the topics that I have been thinking about.

    Anyway, Andre, you’re the one that told me to stop being a blog lurker. Now I’ve started posting and I CAN’T STOP!!

  8. Actually, opting out of the public schools and staying in Ypsi is a possibility. But that raises with it all kinds of other problems (the cost of private schools, the problems/challenges of home schooling, etc.). We’ll just have to see what happens.

  9. I don’t know. I have a problem with Ypsilantians who support the concept of public education but send their children (and their tax dollars) to private/charter schools.

    It’s kind of a “put your money where your mouth is” issue to me.

  10. Really? What if I wanted to send my kid to a private school for religious reasons? What if the school my kid was supposed to go to was just not as good as a local charter school? I can’t “opt out” of paying local taxes to support the public schools, and I wouldn’t want to do that anyway– I think supporting public schools makes sense in that public schools help the community as a whole.

    But I don’t see how that means I have to use the public schools.

  11. Well. I have a problem with charter schools, or as a friend called them, the “Halliburtons of education”. You have people who opt out of public schools, not all of them being informed ones. For example, you say you cannot be convinced that your son continuing in Ypsi beyond elementary school is a good idea, but you never said that you actually looked into the schools. Sounds like there is fear there, fear of what, I don’t know, but that motivates a lot of people to make choices without looking fully into their options. The Board of Education that I vote for has no say in the charter schools, yet my tax dollars go there. Worst case scenario, those with children in charter schools care less and less about the public schools which become a repository for lower class children. Voters will care less about who is on the board or how well it’s funded, and they’ll do worse which will fulfill the prophecy of the failing schools. More kids for the armed forces, I guess. It’s very Republican. Punish the publicly funded institution and replace them with privatized schools where there is less say in what goes on and someone is profiting.

    For some reason, I don’t care so much about private schools. They’re elitist, but I guess I don’t care to be around religious or wealthy people with their inflated sense of selves. Or at least, religious people who are opposed to a secular education. I’ll admit my own personal biases here. They can go by by. It’s not democratic, but that won’t break the public schools.

    I just found out something interesting. An acquaintance was telling me that Ypsi teachers are paid less than other public school districts, and was equating the quality of the schools to the pay of teachers. Last weekend I met a Greenhills teacher who said they are paid WAY less than in the public schools.

  12. I’m not going to get into a “discussion” about the Ypsi schools per se; I think we might just have to agree to disagree about some of that.

    As for charter schools and private schools: for me, I think it’s about choice for parents to do what they think is the right thing for their kids. Simple as that. I would agree that the charter school in Ypsi that is sort of Halliburton-like is problematic. But keep in mind that there have also been charter schools in this area (Michigan in general) and around the country that have had lefty leanings, have had curriculums focused on foreign languages or art or music or other things not available in regular public schools, charter schools that have been offered as solutions in really problematic school districts. etc. Do they all work? No. But again, I’m not sure that’s a reason to not offer folks a choice.

  13. I would hope that lefty-leaning schools would include transportation and subsidized lunch programs so that they are inclusive of children of all socioeconomic backgrounds. I am not up on every charter school, so maybe they do. Otherwise that is using a definition of “left” that I don’t subscribe to.

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